We've had such bad news for so long regarding the unemployment rates in the United States, but it seems like we finally may be getting some respite. The unemployment rate for the country fell to 7.6 percent in March, which is the lowest we've seen it since December 2008.
In February 2013, we saw an increase of 236,000 jobs across multiple industries. The fact that 48,000 of those were in construction seems to indicate that the real estate market may also be improving. Does that mean we are on the path to recovery?
But What's Next?
With the recent sequester on government spending, many analysts think that we're not quite yet out of the woods when it comes to the job market and hiring. Wealth Daily reports that many fear the government's plans to cut $85 million in spending this year will trickle down to jobs and make unemployment a concern for a bit longer.
Should You Be Worried?
If you have a job and your company seems stable, you likely have nothing to worry about. However if your company is involved in government contracts that may be cut due to the sequester, or if your industry relies on government spending in any way, you might want to update your résumé just in case.
If you're thinking about finding another job, now may not be the best time to do so. Many employers are taking a "wait and see approach," and postponing what they deem to be any unnecessary hiring. And with that approximately 12 million people still looking for jobs, you've got more competition now than you will have if you wait a few months when things shake out.
Many employers who are posting open positions and who choose a candidate are still dragging their feet before hiring. This might be because those who are looking for jobs don't match up to the skills employers want, or maybe employers are just being too picky.
That being said, it never hurts to keep your ears out for an opportunity. People are getting hired, despite the turmoil in the market. Update your LinkedIn profile and résumé, and keep networking and building relationships with key decision-makers at other companies. Even if now isn't the time to make a career move, you're laying the foundation for future opportunity.
Interview After Interview
If you decide to try to find a job right now, don't be surprised if you're put through the wringer for a position you want. The New York Times reports on how many applicants are being put through "marathon interview sessions" simply because companies don't make fast decisions these days. They want to be completely sure of the right job applicant so that they don't waste precious capital on the wrong hire. To that end, they're inviting potential candidates for multiple interviews—much more than in the past—to help make the right decision. It can be a frustrating process for you as a job applicant, so if you're not up for it, again, consider whether now is the right time to apply for another job.
Where to Go From Here
We can't change the economy; all we can do is react to it. We've weathered some of the worst years in this country's recent history, so if we have a few more to get through, we will survive. Continue to work on building out your contacts and professional relationships, and when the time is right, make your move to your next role.
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.